(Politifact) Amid swelling evidence of Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election, President Donald Trump pushed back against critics who say he’s given the Kremlin a free pass.
In one tweet on Feb. 20, Trump said, “I have been much tougher on Russia than Obama, just look at the facts. Total Fake News!”
The tweet immediately drew guffaws among media commentators and on social media, who quickly plucked examples of Trump downplaying evidence of a far-reaching effort by Russia to meddle in the election. (Just a day earlier, we gave Trump a Pants on Fire for tweeting that he “never said Russia did not meddle in the election.”) […]
“The Trump administration has repeatedly tried to undermine the credibility of the FBI and intelligence agencies in their investigation and assessment of the threat to the integrity of U.S. elections by Russian operatives,” said Yoshiko Herrera, a political science professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Herrera added that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is looking into whether the Trump administration crossed the line into obstruction of justice by trying to impede the investigation of the Russian threat to the American electoral system.
“The Trump administration didn’t provide the list of who they apply to until very late,” Herrera said. “That’s a clear sign of foot-dragging by the White House.”
Susanne Wengle, a political science professor at the University of Notre Dame, agreed that Trump “has not been proactive or voiced strong opposition to Russian involvement in U.S. politics,” while Obama did.
To the extent that Trump’s policies against Russia have met or exceeded Obama’s post-2014 policies, the credit goes more to his agencies and Congress, experts said. These policies are ones that “hawkish military types in his orbit like, and were not likely from his own initiative,” said Wengle, the University of Notre Dame professor. […]
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